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Solidarity blockade blocks highway

Janani Gopal, Saskatchewan News Network
Regina Post-Leader
Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2006

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]

SASKATOON -- More than 30 aboriginal protesters set up a blockade on a major highway near North Battleford on Monday afternoon to show solidarity with an aboriginal blockade in Ontario.

The protesters disbanded after two hours to allow traffic stretching for three kilometres along the Yellowhead Highway to proceed, after an agreement was reached with the RCMP. The protesters had set up their blockade on the highway bridge crossing the North Saskatchewan River.

"It was a peaceful protest, a peaceful blockade," said Skyler Whitefish, 25.

Whitefish said the situation at Caledonia, Ont., where aboriginal groups have set up a blockade to fight for their land claims, spurred him to help organize Monday's blockade.

"There's a lot of fighting over there, so we decided to put something together," he said.

The aboriginals in Caledonia have a right to the land that's been taken away from them, said Whitefish.

Whitefish said many people honked their horns and flashed the thumbs-up at the elders and other aboriginal protesters standing on the bridge and handing out pamphlets. But the angry reaction of others hurt him, he said.

"There (were) lots of racial slurs, people telling us we should go home. Things like, 'Go home, you Indians, this is our land,' " said Whitefish. Still, the blockade was a success in his eyes.

"Whenever people start to get mad, that's when people start to listen," he said. "It was a necessary step to get the message heard."

A man and a woman who also helped to organize the march were issued traffic tickets for $140 for "interfering with the use of the roadway," said RCMP spokesperson Heather Russell.

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